New research from a first-of-its-kind global study, the Health Inclusivity Index, shows the U.S. ranks at No. 11, outside the Top 10 countries, on health care inclusivity — which is defined as increasing opportunities for as many people as possible to enjoy better everyday health, including marginalized groups and those discriminated against because of disability, age, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality.
The Health Inclusivity Index study was commissioned by Warren-based consumer health company Haleon and devised by researchers at Economist Impact. The index evaluates 40 countries on the effectiveness and implementation of inclusive health care systems, processes and policies. The full data report can be found here.
Haleon is expanding its relationship with Rutgers University and launching a scholarship program for master’s degree candidates in the School of Public Health to support rising experts working to dismantle barriers to health care access and literacy and identify solutions in response to the index.
The index has been developed to demonstrate the role that governments, policymakers and others can play to address health inequity and promote inclusion, particularly for the most marginalized and vulnerable in society.
U.S. findings of the Health Inclusivity Index include:
- Despite having the highest health care expenditure, inclusivity in the U.S. still lags. U.S. scored well on health infrastructure and workforce, which proves that a foundation for inclusivity is in place.
- Although no universal health care scheme exists, nearly all Americans have health insurance and policies exist to ensure access for vulnerable groups — but many don’t believe care is affordable.
- Patient information to support self-care is available, but health literacy in the U.S. lags, lessening the effectiveness of such information.
- The U.S. is behind other leading nations for public/community in policy development. To improve health inclusivity, individuals and communities need to be provided with the power and the tools to truly take their health into their own hands.
It is evident that health inclusivity and accessibility in the U.S. requires partnership from traditional stakeholders — including policymakers and health care providers — in collaboration with private-sector business leaders. This social contract is key to facilitating equitable access, personal agency and supportive health resources needed for individuals to make informed health decisions.
“The health industry must embed the concept of health inclusivity into culture and business operations, ensuring everyday health is more accessible for more Americans,” Lisa Paley, president, North America, Haleon, said. “As a global leader in delivering everyday health, Haleon can help take the Health Inclusivity Index data even further to understand what health inclusivity looks like in real terms, for real people within their communities. We are committed to breaking down barriers to access including with our partnerships across retail, technology, nonprofit and academia, such as the Rutgers School of Public Health.”
“The work of Haleon and Economist Impact’s Health Inclusivity Index aligns with the tenets of social justice and health equity that define the Rutgers School of Public Health,” Dr. Perry Halkitis, dean and professor of biostatistics and urban-global public health at the School of Public Health, said. “As one of the leading public health programs in the country, we’re proud to be working with one of the world’s first and largest standalone consumer health companies to launch the index, and we’re thrilled to continue to build our relationship with Haleon through this scholarship program for our Master of Public Health students.”